I have enjoyed reading many Amish romances and have invited many “Amish” authors to be my guests here. But all of us know human nature, its dark side which can pervert God’s message of love and forgiveness and substitute rules and punishment. It happens outside of the Amish culture and unfortunately inside also.
Author Brenda Nixon has firsthand experience of young people who have fled from harsh parents and legalistic churches that remind me of the Pharisee’s that Jesus railed against. I hope you’ll pray for young people caught in these harsh situations, not the norm for Amish families I’m sure. Here’s Brenda:
“Parenting” TEENS from another culture
He slipped out of his darkened farmhouse one night. Running down a small country road, he cried wondering “who would take care of me.” Yet the determination to leave his life and traditions behind overpowered his fears of the unknown.
Months later he and I met. Through a series of conversations, I became acquainted with Mosie, a.k.a. Moses. He was eighteen years young, impulsive, passionate, hardworking, and complex – not unlike the culture he left.
With his help I learned about his upbringing as an extremely conservative Swartzentruber Amish. With my help, he was “mothered” and taught the ways of our world – jobs, insurance, cars, discernment in dating, and how much God loved him.
Often admired. Misunderstood. Mysterious. I’ve learned to know and understand inside the conservative Amish Orders from Mosie and the many other formers I know. Most left Swartzentruber – the strictest and most punitive – and a handful of conservative Old Order Amish. Predominantly guys but a few gals have come through my home and heart.
Taking in a teenager from another culture – and a boy, I raised girls – was like walking into a snowstorm. I learned that he was taught to be stoic. Withhold his emotions. Our home encourages family members to recognize and release emotions.
He was taught to bathe once a week and never go to an outside – English – dentist. My husband and I taught our daughters to care for their bodies with daily hygiene practices and bi-annual dentist visits. He was brought up to believe that deliberate inattention to the body was proof of righteousness.
I grew up with loving, Christian parents. I sat through many church services as a child hearing about God’s grace and forgiveness. How God desires relationship with us. Mosie grew up attending church services in German – his least understood language. His sermons always included the wrath of God. His suspicious supervision. His punishment for breaking Church rules.
All these and other differences made for a challenging task but one God put in my home. And I grew to love that boy. He called me, “Mama,” and I felt affection for him like he was my own kid.
Mosie was the first. After him God brought ex-Amish Harvey, Josh, Sarah, Monroe, Noah, Levi, Uriah, Uria, Andy, and others into our home and hearts.
Some lived with us. Others passed through with a meal and “Mom” hugs. A few needed a financial boost. I don’t know why God brought this cultural learning curve into my life at a time when my daughters were grown and my husband and I were empty-nesters. But I’m grateful He trusted me with His dear children. Those who needed to know that God is gracious, loving, forgiving, and desires relationship with his creation.
After a few years and pleas from friends, I put pen to paper and began blogging about my experiences and what I’d learned. The blog received 2014 Blog of the Year at Book Fun Magazine. The blog evolved into a book, Beyond Buggies and Bonnets: Seven true stories of former Amish.
Like “parenting” teens with different upbringing and parental values, giving birth to the book has been a resistant challenge. From publisher rejections to false allegations from fiction authors, I’ve persisted in providing a deeper understanding of the complex Amish culture. Maybe it’ll crack open the door to recognizing and respecting the great diversity, and to pray for those who need to experience a God of love.”–Brenda
To purchase this book, click here. Beyond Buggies and Bonnets: Seven true stories of former Amish
For more online:
Brenda, thanks for sharing your experiences with these teens. And thanks for offering a free copy of the Ebook edition of your book. If you’d like to enter the drawing for this ebook, here’s the QUESTION: Have you ever dealt with a Christian that was a stumbling block to others? Don’t name names please, but how did you handle this?–Lyn
PS-I visited Brenda’s blog and read this interesting article on Amish teens and cell phones & even Facebook! http://www.brendanixononamish.blogspot.com/2015/04/rumspringa-perpetual-spring-break.html#more